Philadelphia Phillies (4-1) ace RHP Aaron Nola was unlike himself in his second start of the season Wednesday afternoon against the Washington Nationals (2-3) at Nationals Park, and yet, the club's potent offense nearly made up for it in exciting fashion, until a costly, late-inning fielding error and poor relief pitching in the ninth.
Down 6-2 in the fourth, a Cesar Hernandez RBI double and Nick Williams pinch-hit RBI single cut the club's deficit in half. Four innings later, the Phillies surged ahead. Odubel Herrera singled, and Maikel Franco and Scott Kingery both walked, loading the bases with one out for Andrew McCutchen. On the sixth pitch of his at-bat, McCutchen drilled the ball to deep center, clearing the bases and giving the Phillies the lead. Jean Segura followed with a RBI single insurance run, putting the Phillies on top, 8-6.
Cutch in the clutch! pic.twitter.com/bI2TvgTqCU— MLB (@MLB) April 3, 2019
Washington rallied with two runs on their own, tying the game in the bottom of the eighth against Seranthony Dominguez. Yan Gomes hit a RBI double and later scored due to a Rhys Hoskins catching error, on what should have been an easy third out at first. The costly error was the Phillies' third of the game, joined by Segura's (ground ball) and J.T. Realmuto's (throwing). The Phillies were the only National League team to have yet commit an error when entering the contest.
The ninth inning was not any better. David Robertson allowed a leadoff single, and would walk the next three batters, the last in walk-off fashion, securing the Phillies' first defeat of 2019.
Despite the loss, the Phillies' offense shined again with eight runs scored on 10 hits and three extra-base hits (all doubles). Bryce Harper, in particular, went 2-2 with a run scored and three walks, raising his slash line to .500/.652/1.188.
Seasons in which the #Phillies scored at least five runs in each of their first five games played:— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) April 3, 2019
Nola tossed just three innings and tied his career-worst mark of three home runs allowed — a solo home run to Anthony Rendon, a two-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman and a three-run home run to Juan Soto. Against 16 faced batters in his no-decision, the right-hander's six runs allowed raised his season ERA to 7.00; he allowed five total hits and two walks on 63 pitches and 36 strikes.
Hoskins had a RBI single in the first, while Realmuto brought home a run via a RBI groundout to Nationals pitcher Anibal Sanchez. Both runs gave the Phillies the 2-0 lead, before Nola's uncharacteristic outing unfolded.
After winning their first series and splitting their second, the Phillies will return home for a six-game home stretch, against the Minnesota Twins and Nationals, starting Friday.
- Aaron Nola: 3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB,2 SO, 3 HR, 63 pitches, 36 strikes
- Edubray Ramos: 1 2/3 IP, 3 H, BB, SO, 30 pitches, 15 strikes
- Juan Nicasio: 1 1/3 IP, H, BB, 2 SO, 24 pitches, 14 strikes
- Hector Neris: 1 IP, SO, 10 pitches, 7 strikes
- Seranthony Dominguez: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, ER, 2 SO, 25 pitches, 18 strikes
- David Robertson (L): 0 IP, H, R, ER, 3 BB, 19 pitches, 6 strikes